By Lt Col Harold M. Cabunoc




As one of the most experienced military in counterinsurgency operations, the Philippine Army has accumulated tons of lessons that can be shared among its leaders. In the 1950s, we had learned the value of winning popular support, a crucial factor in defeating the forces of the Huks. It was President Ramon Magsaysay’s pro-people policies that ensured the delivery of essential services to the poorest communities, enhancing the legitimacy of the Philippine government. The show of good governance during that period was also coincided with the creation of the AFP’s effective counterinsurgency outfits, the First Scout Ranger Regiment and the Civil Relations Service. However, these lessons usually disappeared in the shadows of oblivion because of poor documentation, lack of effort in doctrine development, and non-inclusion of COIN studies in our professional military education. In this article, I will attempt to describe how my unit relearnt some of the past COIN lessons that resulted in the surrender of a significant number of NPA rebels in Sultan Kudarat.



Communist insurgency in Sultan Kudarat


The Philippines as a whole and Sultan Kudarat in particular, suffered from the turmoils brought by various insurgencies after it was granted independence by the American colonizers in 1946. The newly created province became a battleground when the ethno-nationalist Moro National Liberation Front expanded its militaristic forays in mainland Mindanao in the 1970s. In response, pro-government paramilitary forces such as the BSDU/CHDF were organized to help the AFP contain the main security threat during that period. As a result, the indigenous peoples like the T’boli, Teduray, and Dulangan Manobo tribesmen, the jungle dwellers, got entangled in the armed conflict that raged in the area. Displaced from their ancestral domain, the indigenous people would later join the communist movement to fight the heavily armed ‘land grabbers’.



The Insurgents


Based on its own online publications, the communist movement (CPP-NPA-NDF) has remained focused in achieving its ultimate goal of replacing the current economic and political order in the Philippines with a socialist system. To achieve this, the communistscarry out a ‘protracted people’s war’ that is waged from the countryside. According to Commander Bobby of the NPA’s Local Guerilla Unit in Sultan Kudarat, the cadres of the Guerilla Front 73 entered the communities of the Dulangan Manobo tribe in the tri-boundary of Senator Ninoy Aquino, Bagumbayan, and Esperanza, sometime in May 2015. Led by Ka George (T.N. Randy Lamigo) and Ka Makmak, the small group of Visayan speaking NPA cadres gathered the Manobo tribal members including their Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives (IPMRs), to identify community problems. The NPA recruiters had a perfect audience for their organizing activities because of the existing land conflict between the lumads and the 29,000 hectareM&S Company. The issuance of high-powered rifles and the prospect of seizing what they claimed as part of their ancestral lands had attracted more than a hundred of the lumads (indigenous people) in joining the New People’s Army. The surge of lumad recruits is reflected by the fact that indigenous peoples comprise at least 90% of the ranks of the Guerilla Front 73. Notably, all of the 161 NPA surrenderees from May 2017-August 2018were Manobo tribesmen. The result of the custodial debriefing for the recent surrenderees reveal that they have not considered the state forces (Army and PNP) as their enemies; rather, they were focused on attacking the SCAA (Special CAFGU/paramilitary forces of the Army) that protects the peripheries of the plantation.


The support of the lumads enabled the Guerilla Front 73 to establish training camps along the Daguma Mountain Range, straddling from Ampatuan town in Maguindanao to Bagumbayan in Sultan Kudarat. The lumad support and the establishment of safe havens also allowed the NPA to collect ‘revolutionary taxes’ from farmers, illegal miners, businessmen, and private contractors. There is no reported foreign funding for the group but there are consistent reports about politicians from South Cotabato who had provided material and political support for the communist rebels.  In mixed communities, the insurgents were able to establish a tactical ‘alliance’ with other armed groups such as the loose factions of the MILF and other private armed groups.


Through the immersion of communist front organizations like Kalumaran and Kaluhamin, the insurgents were able to manipulate the lumads in joining the mass mobilizations in Koronadal, Kidapawan, and Davao City. Kilusang Rebolusyonaryong Baranggay leader Eson Digan was among the few who were deceived by the members of the Anak-Pawis and Bayan Muna in joining the protest rallies in Manila.


The case of TAMASCO claimants of the 1,600 hectares of land in the boundary between the villages of Sto Nino in Bagumbayan town and Ned in Lake Sebu, is the perfect example of how the communists are able to exploit the issues on land conflicts. Datu Victor ‘Bitul’ Denian, the leader of the Dulangan Manobo tribe, had been fighting to get back the 300  hectare Dawang Coffee Plantation of the Consunji Family. Unfortunately, when the contract of lease expired in December 2016, the investment company allegedly extended its hold of the land through ‘integration’ process. The indigenous people complained that the land must be returned because they no longer approved of the lease. While most of the tribal elders opted to raise their sentiments to DENR by legal means, Datu Victor and his followers, out of desperation, accommodated the CPP-NPA-NDF in their community. This patronage led to the forcible seizure of about 50 hectares of coffee plantation, employing child warriors with indigenous weapons. Former New People’s Army members who surrendered to the 33rd IB revealed that they were actually providing fire support in case the armed SCAA (militia forces) will repulse them.


Eventually, eight of Datu Victor’s followers became full time members of the New People’s Army. Meanwhile, Datal Bonglangon community gradually evolved as a communist guerilla base with a shadow government (Kilusang Rebolusyonaryong  Barangay) headed by Abelardo Wali and satellite camps manned by regular NPA members. The recovered subversive documents after the encounter against the armed groups in DatalBonglangon on December 3, 2017 revealed the extent of the communist influence in the area including nearby communities of the Dulangan Manobo and T’boli.




The Counterinsurgents


The 33rd Infantry (Makabayan) Battalion in collaboration with its partner government agencies, combines offensive, defensive and civil support operations in dealing the communist influence within the area of operations. Though thinly spread in a vast expanse of communist-influenced area, the unit enjoys the support of the majority of the population including the local government leaders. To appreciate the operating environment, I retooled two of my maneuver companies (Alpha and Charlie) in order to prepare them in the new operating environment that requires skill sets in both small-unit tactics, counter-guerilla operations, and nation-building. As the primary field operators in our counterinsurgency campaign, I encouraged collaboration and cooperation within the Army. I required my Intelligence Section to collaborate and exchange notes with other intelligence units that are directly supporting or complementing our operations. On the other hand, I taught my Company Commanders on how to conduct purposive stakeholders engagement to frame the problem correctly and to achieve unity of effort in our COIN campaign. At the battalion level, I work with my S3, S2, and S7 on how to support the line units in whatever means necessary, including the establishment of network of contacts among public servants and civil society organizations that can partner with our unit. Most importantly, I encouraged self-education by requiring my subordinates to ready and critically analyze books on Counterinsurgency and military history, and spearhead small group discussions on relevant topics that would improve our ability to effectively handle the local insurgency problem in our AO.




Lessons in Counterinsurgency


I have learned valuable lessons in my involvement in different type of insurgencies (carried out by non-state actors such as MNLF, Abu Sayyaf, and the MILF) since my younger years as a combat leader of the First Scout Ranger Regiment. I realized that there are similarities in most of the lessons based on my field experiences but let me put emphasis on the recent lessons that we gained in our recent campaign against the CPP-NPA-NDF’s Guerilla Front 73, Far South Mindanao Region:

  • Frame the problem
  • Win popular support
  • Synchronization of effort
  • Dominate the information domain


Framing the problem correctly enabled my battalion to focus its efforts on the root causes of the communist insurgency. Like any other insurgencies in the country, the armed insurgent is only a symptom of a bigger problem that needs to be addressed. Through our community engagements, we relearned that the communist insurgency in our AO is driven by socio-political and economic grievances. For example, the illiterate and desperate lumads (Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao) were easily convinced by the communist cadres that their ancestral domain claims could be solved through armed violence. The sad experience of being driven out of their traditional hunting grounds led the lumads to take up arms against the ‘Consunji guards’. This information was corroborated by the tribal elders during our initial engagement with all members of the Dulangan Manobo tribal council in April 2017, and it was further attested by the initial batch of Manobo tribesmen who surrendered to our unit in May 2017. Ka Randy, a former NPA leader from Kuden village, revealed that they were not fighting the government; rather, they were repulsing the ‘Consunji Guards’ who were allegedly sent to destroy their crops. This vital piece of information gave us a clearer picture on how to negotiate for the surrender of the other tribal members, and how to facilitate the resolution of their dispute with the M&S through legal means. As a battalion commander, I facilitated dialogues with the TAMASCO claimants of the Dawang Coffee Plantation in collaboration with Mayor Jonalette De Pedro of Bagumbayan town. Our problem was that Datu Victor, the President of TAMASCO, had allied with the NPA and seized part of the plantation. Later, the seized property became a communist run ‘communal farm’ tended by recruited YUMIL (Yunit Milisya) in the neighboring villages.


Winning popular support rather than focusing on the armed insurgents is something that we have relearned from the experiences of past counterinsurgents around the world. Ramon Magsaysay understood this concept during the HUK Campaign in the 1950s, in the same way how General David Petraeus stabilized Mosul in 2004, and later, the whole of Iraq during the ‘Troop Surge’ in 2007. In our AO, we engaged the local chief executives to pledge our support in delivering social services right in ‘the doorstep’ of their constituents. As a result, our unit actively participated in the AKAP (Abot-Kamay Program) of Bagumbayan town and the similar public service caravans of Lutayan and Senator Ninoy Aquino (Kulaman). We took charge of the security arrangements on the ground and at the same time, provided ‘libreng gupit’ as well as donated items from our unit’s partner CSOs like HOPE Philippines, PBA Legends, and QSMI. Highly visible in the ‘whole of government’ delivery of essential services, our battalion facilitated the enhancement of the local government’s legitimacy. In summary, we learned that government’s legitimacy means winning the support of the people, the center of gravity in an insurgency.


Directly related to winning popular support is the ability of the military unit and the civil government to synchronize their effort towards a common goal. We learned the need to understand the impact of kinetic operations on the community. To attain unity of effort in a particular town, we briefed the local executives about our lines of operations and the objectives that we are trying to achieve. We explained to them that the military and civilian government can effectively work together in achieving common objectives in a particular community. The synergy of our effort is reflected by our battalion’s facilitation of the passage of a barangay resolution requesting for the establishment of a community defense system that will augment the effort of the Army in peace and security matters. The same is true with the unity of effort that we achieved in our community services that were participated and supported by non-government organizations such as HOPE Philippines focusing on education and Rotary Club of Tacurong for community based livelihood opportunities. Through synchronization of effort, we were able to walk the talk, enhancing our credibility before the people.


We have also relearned that respect for the rule of law establishes our credibility as members of the state forces. It means respect for human rights, adherence to the laws of armed conflict, and rules of engagement. To achieve this, I ensured that every soldier and our partners from other law enforcement agencies will refrain from committing abuses during our operations. During our focused military operations against the New People’s Army, we saved injured insurgentsand treated them humanely. My battalion observed the rules of engagement during the kinetic operations against members of the Platoon Cloud Phone in Isulan town in August 2017 during which we captured two NPA fighters. We replicated this during our combat actions against the Platoon Arabo of the NPA in Datal Bonglangon wherein my unit treated wounded combatants. These operations established my unit’s solid reputation as human rights advocates and pro-people soldiers. Consequently, the good reputation of the unit enabled us to win popular support, influencing the decision of the disorganized insurgents to lay down their arms.


Last but not the least, we learned the value of dominating the information domain. I taught my subordinate leaders to tell their story in images and videos. I reminded my soldiers the saying: “Even if Superman was able to save the whole world but nobody talks about it, it never happened.” To capacitate my unit, I invested in training. Ms. Hannah Reyes-Morales, a world-class photographer for National Geographic, shared her skills in Cellphone Photography. We also handpicked soldiers to undergo Combat Photography under Mr. Carlo Claudio, and hired an expert on  Video Editing/ Film Making. With a steady source of public affairs and psy-ops products, my unit utilized the social media in sharing our good stories, and refute the narrative of the communists. On the other hand, I learned that the people in the hinterlands are fond listeners of both Bombo Radyo and Brigada News, two of the most influential radio stations in the region. With this knowledge, I made sure that we were always ahead of the enemy in the headlines, focusing on the truth of what we have done in the communities. And, we reaped the fruits of our labor in a few months when Benjamin Calay, one of the first surrenderees from Platoon Cherry Mobile of the GF73, shared his story. He narrated during our radio guesting at Bombo Radyo-Koronadal that they learned about the deployment of trained snipers, based on the feature story of our advanced marksmanship training for selected CAFGU personnel. The ‘presence’ of the snipers (and also the good stories that they heard from the tribal elders) influenced his decision to surrender together with 10 of his fellow NPA fighters.



Learning and adapting


We recognize the fact that we are currently confronting a highly adaptive enemy in our COIN campaign all over the Philippine archipelago. It means that the  Philippine Army must document its lessons and turn it into case studies and doctrine manuals that will be shared to the next generation of COIN operators. We have to admit that we are currently engaged in ‘small wars’ that require continuous learning. We have to learn and adapt to win a war, as German leader Otto Von Bismarck said: “Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”



(The author is the incumbent Battalion Commander of the 33rd Infantry Battalion based at Tual, President Quirino. The said military contingent confronts both communist insurgents and Southern Philippines secessionist groups in Central Mindanao. Prior to his current assignment, he had served in various conflict-affected areas such as Basilan, Sulu, Bicol Region, and Central Mindanao. He finished his Masters in Military and Defense Studies at the Australian National University)

1 biography



Ang Talumpati ni Pnoy Aquino sa Mamasapano Massacre Anniversary (25 January 2016)

Ang Talumpati ni Pnoy Aquino sa

Mamasapano Massacre Anniversary (25 January 2016)

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Sa pagsalita ni Pnoy Aquino sa anibersaryo ng pagpatay sa SAF44 ngayong araw, 25 ng Enero, ay kung ano-ano na namang matulaing kataga ang binitwan niya. Kaylan kaya titigil ang presidente sa ganitong gawain na bistado namang puro buladas lang? Hindi makakalimutan ang mga binitiwan niyang mga pangako lalo na ang “tuwid na daan”, noong nangangampanya pa lang siya, hanggang sa siya ay umupo na. Pati ang mga “pangako” para sa mga pamilya ng mga pinatay na SAF44 ay hindi pinatawad ni Pnoy dahil sa mga bulilyaso na naman.


Ayon sa tatay ng isang pinatay na SAF, iilan lang sa mga pinangakong benepisyo ang kanilang natanggap. Ang pabahay ay maliit at nasa isang liblib na panig ng Laguna at hindi mararating kung walang sariling sasakyan. Ang isang benepisyo para sa dependent ay tahasang sinabi ng pamunuan ng PNP na hindi pwedeng ibigay dahil lampas na sa minimum na gulang ang tinutukoy na dependent, subalit sana ito ay ginawang exemption na lang, dahil gagamitin sa isang hindi pangkaraniwang sitwasyon…subalit hindi nangyari, sa kabila ng pangako ni Pnoy.


Hindi makalimutan ang hindi niya pagsalubong nang dumating ang mga labi ng SAF44, pagkatapos ay sasabihin niyang dadalhin daw niya hanggang sa hukay ang sakit na dulot ng nangyari na gusto pa niyang ituring na isang “insidente” lamang, at hindi “masaker”? Dahil sa kasanayan na niyang magbigkas ng mga kasinungalingan, akala niya lahat ng mga sinasabi niya ay totoo….napaniwala niya ang sarili sa ganito. Subalit hindi tanga ang taong bayan upang paniwalaan ang mga sinasabi niya.


Upang mabawasan ang bigat ng kanyang mga pagkukulang bilang presidente ay panay paninisi ang ginagawa sa nakaraan administrasyon ni Gloria Arroyo na nagpamana daw sa kanya ng mga kapalpakan. Bakit hindi na lang niya ituwid kung may mali at punan kung may kakulangan, sa halip na siya ay magdadakdak na hindi gawain ng isang lalaking tao, lalo pa at ayon sa kanya ay  “ama” siya ng sambayanang Pilipino? Ang salitang “ama” ay nanggaling din sa kanya dahil sa kahiligan yata niya sa tula, subalit hanggang turing na lang ito, dahil hindi nga niya pinapakinggan ang kanyang mga “boss” na taong bayan, ang bago na namang turing na “ama” pa kaya? Hindi lang tahasang pagbibingi-bingihan ang kanyang ginagawa, kundi pati na rin ang pagbubulag-bulagan, at lalo pa ang pagmamaang-maangan kaya marami tuloy ang nagtatanong kung may presidente ba ngayon ang Pilipinas.


Ang pinakamagandang magagawa ni Pnoy upang makabawi sa mga kahihiyan ay huwag nang mangako at bawasan ang paggamit ng mga matalinghagang salita sa kanyang mga talumpati. May panahon pa naman siya upang mabago kahit kapiraso ang pagtingin sa kanya ng sambayanang Pilipino at makakuha uli ng respeto…yan ay kung pakikinggan niya ang mga matitino niyang taga-payo, lalo na ang mga “boss” niya.

Umaayon ang mga Pagkakataon kay Pnoy na Pinaghandaan Niya

Umaayon ang mga Pagkakataon kay Pnoy

na Pinaghandaan Niya

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Sa pagkalaglag ni Mar Roxas mula sa kalinga ni Pnoy Aquino dahil sa hindi pagka-apruba sa dalawang libong pisong dagdag sa buwanang pensiyon ng mga retirado, wala ring problema sakaling manalo si Jejomar Binay. Dapat tandaang ang kalaban ni Binay ay ang tatlong senador na pursigidong siya ay makulong-  sina Escudero, Trillanes at Pimentel. Sa isang banda ay paulit-ulit na sinasabi ni Binay na malaki ang utang na loob niya kay Cory Aquino na siyang nagluklok sa kanya sa Makati City bilang mayor nang umupo ito bilang presidente pagkatapos ng People Power 1. Dahil diyan, malayo sa isip niya na sumuporta sa anumang balak na kasuhan si Pnoy, bilang pagpapakita ng utang na loob. Wala rin siyang probema dahil naghihintay na sa kanya ang pork barrel fund na inaprubahan ni Pnoy, na lalo pang nilakihan sa halagang nakakalula.


Maraming mapaggagamitan ang pork barrel fund na inaprubahan ni Pnoy, lalo na sa panunuhol upang maharangan ang anumang tangkang kasuhan siya sa kanyang pagbaba at pagkawala ng immunity. Sa Ingles wika nga ay, the road has been paved for smooth travel….o pag-absuwelto kay Pnoy mula sa anumang kaso. Majority ng miyembro ng Korte Suprema ay naimpluwensiyahan na ni Pnoy at ang iba ay iniluklok naman niya sa panahon ng kanyang panunungkulan kaya hindi maiiwasang magkaroon sila ng utang na loob sa kanya. Yong mga inuluklok ni Pnoy na nagsasabi ng, “gagawin ko lang ang trabahong itinalaga sa akin”, ay mabuti pang manahimik na lamang mula ngayon dahil siguradong sisirain lang nila ang binitiwang pangako. Hindi dapat kalimutan na ang isang bahagi ng kultura ng mga Pilipino ay matiim na nakaangkla sa “utang na loob” na siya namang dahilan kung bakit napakarumi ng pulitika sa Pilipinas.


Ang mga nabanggit na senaryo ay malamang na matagal nang nakikita ni Pnoy kaya kung gumawa siya ng mararahas na aksiyon na taliwas sa mga inaasahan ay ganoon na lang. Samantala, ang pag-asa na lamang ay ang kasong inilalatag sa kanya ni Juan Ponce Enrile tungkol sa direktang pananagutan niya sa madugong kamatayan ng SAF44 sa Tokanalipao, Mamasapano, sa probinsiya ng Maguindanao. Subalit kung ito ay ihahain sa Korte Suprema, tatanggapin naman kaya ng karamihan ng mga mahistrado ang “command responsibility” bilang batayan ng kanyang kasalanan? Ano ang magagawa ng isang mabigat na ebidensiya sa harap ng mga naimpluwensiyahang kaisipan na nabaluktot kaya hindi makagawa ng patas na desisyon? Nangyari na yan nang kung ilang beses….at siguradong mangyayari pa!

Though how Progressive a Country is, there will always be Poverty because of Corruption

Though how Progressive a Country is, there will always be

Poverty because of Corruption

By Apolinario Villalobos


Perfection should be ruled out in the reckoning of a progressive country, because there will always be poverty due to corruption somewhere in the system of governance. In other words, the glitter of progress cannot hide poverty. For ultra-progressive countries, the signs may be insignificant as they try to blend with the glamour of urbanity. But in other countries, especially, the third-world, the signs are very prevalent, so that there is always a massive effort to cover them up occasionally, literally, as it is done every time there are special occasions such as visits of foreign dignitaries. This practice is successful in the Philippines.


Practically, poverty is the shadow of progress, and literally, too, as where there are looming high-rise buildings that are pockmarks of progress, not far from them are slums or homeless citizens who huddle together under bridges and nooks. These are misguided citizens who flock to the cities after selling their homestead, that have been farmed for several generations, to deceitful land developers, at a measly price. These are the urban squatters willing to be relocated but found out that the promised “paradise” do not even have a deep well so they go back to their sidewalk “homes”. These are contractual workers who have no job securities as they earn only for five to six months, after which they leave their fate to luck while looking for another job.


How does corruption ever be involved in the sad fate of the exploited? Simply, by the government’s negligence  in providing decent relocation sites with job opportunities and basic facilities to those uprooted from their city abodes for more than so many years; by its cuddling of the spurious contractualization perpetrated by greedy employers; by its failure to guide and protect the rights of farmers who sell their rice fields to subdivision developers at measly prices that are not even enough to sustain them for six months; by its failure to provide the citizens with the basic necessities as funds are allowed to be pocketed by corrupt officials; and practically by looking the other way despite the availability of laws against vote buying.


Third- world country leaders should stop using the word “progressive”, but instead they should use “surviving” to describe their respective economy. If a country’s economy cannot sustain, much less, provide a “comfortable life” to majority of its citizens, then it is still “ailing”…hence, expect poverty to be trailing behind, just a few steps away from the pretentious allegations!




“Maliit na bagay…”: bagong kasabihan ng Presidente ng Pilipinas

“Maliit na bagay…”: bagong kasabihan ng Presidente ng Pilipinas

(tungkol sa mga isyu ng “tanim-bala” at “Maguindanao Massacre”)

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Ayon sa matalinong presidente ng Pilipinas, maliit na bagay lang daw ang isyu tungkol sa tanim-bala sa airport at pinalaki lang ng media. Para sa kanya, maliit palang bagay ang mga sumusunod na ilan lang sa mga nangyari dahil sa eskandalong ito:


  • Ang mawalan ng trabaho sa ibang bansa ang isang pasaherong hindi nagbigay ng suhol kaya pinigilang sumakay sa kanyang flight.


  • Ang halos ikamatay ng isang matandang pasahero ang ginawang pagbintang na nagbibitbit siya ng bala.


  • Ang kahihiyang idinulot ng pagposas agad sa isang may katandaan nang pasaherong babae dahil lang sa iisang balang nakita daw sa kanyang bagahe.


  • Ang mapagtawanan ang Pilipinas ng buong mundo dahil pati ang inosenteng bala ay ginawang kasangkapan sa pangingikil, kaya ang kahihiyang ito ay ginawan pa ng isang TV show sa Japan.


  • Ang maalipusta ng mga banyaga na ang tingin sa Pilipino ay hindi mapapagkatiwalaan.


  • Ang masira ang imahe ng bansa pagdating sa turismo dahil pati mga banyagang turista ay hindi pinatawad ng mga nangingikil sa airport.


  • Ang maungkat uli ang literal na mabahong amoy sa mga airport dahil sa mga sirang gripo, baradong inuduro at tadtad ng mantsang mga lavatory o lababo, kaya hindi na nawala ang black eye ng tourism industry ng bansa na hindi na nga nakakasabay kahit lang sa mga kapit-bansa na kasapi sa ASEAN.


Pinsan ng pangulo ang nakaupong General Manager ng MIAA, na tahasang nagsasabing wala siyang pakialam sa pangkabuuhang operasyon ng airport sa kabila ng ipinakita na sa kanyang responsibilidad na nakapaloob sa isang kauutusan. Bakit hindi na lang siya mag-resign upang mapalitan ng talagang may kaalaman sa pagpapatakbo ng airport? Kung may pagmamahal siya sa pinsan niyang matalinong president, dapat umalis na siya upang mabawasan naman ang bigat na nakapatong sa balikat nito – mga problemang siya rin ang may gawa.


Ang Maguindanao Massacre na ilang araw lang ang nakaraan ay umabot na sa ika-anim na taon ay malamang “maliit na bagay” lang din para sa matalinong pangulo. Nakalimutan yata niyang isa ito sa mga pinangako niyang matutuldukan noong siya ay nangangampanya pa lang. Nakakatawa pa sila sa Malakanyang dahil ngayong araw na ito lang, November 24, nagbigay ng “reminder” sa Department of Justice na “bilisan” kuno ang pagpausad sa gulong ng hustisya para sa mga namatayan!


Maliit din sigurong bagay ang pag-appoint niya ng mga kakilala, kaeskwela, at kung ano pang kakakahan sa mga sensitibong puwesto sa iba’t ibang ahensiya. Mabuti na lang at kahit paano ay nabistong ang palagi niyang sinusumbat na cronyism kay Gloria Arroyo ay ginagawa din pala niya – mas matindi pa! Bumaba man siya sa puwesto, hindi siya makakalimutan ng mga Pilipino dahil sa pagduduro niya ng isang daliri kay Gloria, samantalang ang tatlo pa ay nakaturo naman sa kanya!


Para sa isang taong hindi nakadanas ng kahirapan, lahat ng bagay sa mundo ay maliit dahil malamang, iniisip niyang lahat ito may katumbas na pera!…o hindi kaya dahil lang sa talagang ugali niyang walang pakialam sa kanyang kapwa?



Conflict of Ideologies, Abuse of Authority, and Corruption are the Causes of the Indigenous Filipinos’ Woes Today

Conflict of Ideologies, Abuse of Authority, and Corruption

are the Causes of the Indigenous Filipinos’ Woes Today

by Apolinario Villalobos

When the Spaniards colonized the islands of the Philippines way back in the 1500s, the natives were clustered so that they can be easily “managed” which actually means, conveniently taxed. They were made to settle around the plaza with the church as the focal point of the community. To entice those who were apprehensive and afraid to come down from their mountain abode, joyful occasions such as fiestas were held by the friars. The same practice was employed by the Americans when they took over. Some regions were successfully developed out of clustering, although, some tribes who persisted in maintaining their values and culture remained steadfast in their ancestral domains. There was not much problem during those two regimes because, the natives had only two choices – either embrace the imposed authority thereby, live in “managed” communities, or live in the mountains, far from the colonizers, peacefully. Period.

Today, the native Filipinos who live in their ancestral domain are pitifully squeezed between three forces – that of the government forces, the land grabbers, and the subversives. The government has the duty to protect every Filipino, including the indigenous ones. To make it easy for the government to do it, clustering is again used, pulling the natives from their source of livelihood, in the process. The government had to do this because of the intrusion of the subversives into the ancestral domains of the indigenous Filipinos. Unfortunately, some military contingents became abusive. The land grabbers, meanwhile, using fraudulent documents are practically driving the natives farther into the wilderness. On the other hand, the subversives employ psychological tactics in winning the natives to their side, and in some instances, even with force.

In a not so distant past, some tribes were the ones that complained about the intrusion of the subversives into their midst. Their presence required support which of course meant, doubling of effort on the part of the natives to produce more from their tilled lands. It is only when they could no longer tolerate the mulcting of these subversives that they complained to the government authorities. This is the reason why the government came into the picture – to purportedly protect the natives, necessitating their presence in their communities. In cases of land grabbing, the natives approach militant groups for help, and most often, results are not encouraging due to inaction of the government agencies concernced, that is why, during anti-government rallies, this is among the issues being shouted, a sad reality because most land grabbers are government officials using dummies!

Aside from clustering, another effort of the government to provide protection is the organization of the local defense forces composed of the able-bodied male members of the community. The Abbu Sayyaf was “developed” in this manner. Originally envisioned to augment the government effort in fighting insurgency, it later became into what it is now because of many reasons blamed on the government. In the case of the displaced natives who are seeking the protection of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) in Mindanao, their community-based paramilitary group is called Alamara.

The latest news about the displaced 700 indigenous Filipinos who live under the protection of the United Church of Christ in the Philippine (UCCP), displaced from their ancestral domains for several months now is disheartening. The primary reason why the natives left their homes and farms, is the presence of the military in their communities. The question now is, “who” told them that such presence is not good for them? The quest for communistic ideology is far from being dead in the Philippines. Splinters of communistic groups are well distributed throughout the archipelago even the once-peaceful Bohol, Panay, and Palawan islands.

The issue on displaced tribal communities is not new, especially, as an effect of land grabbing which started when the Spaniards came,  got complicated with the intrusion of Communism in the country, worsened by the politicians who use dummies in this scheme, and got further muddled by the abuse of some military contingents.

As a conclusion, for as long as there are adherents of Communism, land grabbers, abusive military contingents, and corrupt government officials, the problem of the indigenous Filipinos will not be solved. The consolation, however, are the religious groups, one of which is the UCCP, that provide support and affordable protection.

The “Extraordinary” Resolute Stance of Sacked SAF Chief Getulio Napenas

The “Extraordinary” Resolute Stance of
Sacked SAF Chief Getulio Napeῆas
By Apolinario Villalobos

Ever since the sacked SAF Chief Getulio Napeῆas gave interviews, until the first day of the Senate Hearing on February 9, 2015 about the Mamasapano massacre, the guy sounded resolute and sure of his statements. His body language implies that he is leaning on “something” strong or formidable. Is that “something” a promise that everything will be alright for as long as he takes responsibility of the SAF’s intrusion into the MILF’s “territory”? Who gave him that assured “something”?

Although, he mentioned the name of Purisima during the hearing, all that he attributed to him were the “suggestions”, which for him were not “orders”. But why take such suggestions to the point of following them to the last letter from a suspended boss? Why did he disregard the Secretary of a Presidential cabinet, DILG, and who is after all, higher than Purisima? And, worst, why did he disregard the OIC of PNP? It should be noted that during his early interviews he clearly stated that he was coordinating with Purisima and Ochoa, with the latter, he believes to be confiding with the president. By having knowledge of what are afoot, puts the parties involved in a questionable position, short of saying that they are in collusion with the active party who, in this situation is Napeῆas.

Again, was Napeῆas given assurance that there will be no investigation? Or, is he hoping that if ever there will be one, and which unfortunately there are several going on, the expected results are expected to be conflicting, and eventually will be just be junked as had happened to the rest of investigations? Obviously, during the Senate hearing, he got rattled and struggled with his replies when bombarded with questions by unbelieving senators. But he did not waver in blaming the Armed Forces for not immediately giving assistance….at least he has some party to blame for the casualties that the SAF suffered, aside for course from the MILF and the BIFF.

It is very observable in the country’s justice system, that unless the ones tried are political foes, the cases are not given much attention. One glaring example is the Maguindanao massacre which up to now has no convicted party yet, despite the strong evidences. But for the corruption cases tagged to Napoles that involve the political foes of the administration, the action is very swift, resulting to the detention of Enrile, Estrada and Revilla. The same is true with the Binays who are drenched to the bone with graft cases, to make sure that the elder Binay will not have a chance during the Presidential race in 2016.

The senators are smelling something fishy and just like the rest of the Filipinos who are patiently following this latest case of irresponsibility, they cannot accept the alibis of the sacked SAF chief.